Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Red-Headed Woodpecker 2016

On Tuesday, October 18th, I heard of a report of Red-Headed Woodpecker at Laupot Bridge. After entering Central Park and going through the Pinetum and Shakespeare Garden. I arrived at the woodpecker spot. It was being seen up in a tall locust tree when I got there, and it took me a minute to spot it, but I got great views of the adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (#162). The bird stayed in the tree for more than a half hour, and I also had a late Magnolia Warbler in the same location to keep me company while the woodpecker was hiding. It eventually flew off, but others saw it later that afternoon. Ever since then, there have been occasional reports of  Red-Headed Woodpecker in the Ramble, and recently a younger bird has taken up residence at Sheep Meadow. At this stage in year listing, the only regular birds that I have a chance of getting are some of the later migrating raptors and Pine Siskins (if they ever show up). Rarities are what I'm hoping for, and I hope to find one of them no matter what it is. Last fall, other than the "large yellow-bellied" flycatcher in December, I had no rarities, but I did have some late migrants, including Pine Warbler and Black-and-White Warbler in November.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

American Wigeon 2016

On October 6th, an American Wigeon was reported somewhere in Central Park. While the report seemed reliable, nobody knew where it could be. Only at the end of the day did someone spot it (a female) at the Harlem Meer, and by that time many birders have gone home. On the 7th, it was refound and I went up there to search for it in the afternoon. When I got there, I noticed that there were dozens of Gadwalls and Northern Shovelers I had to sort through to find the wigeon. I headed to the south end after failing to spot it in the flock, where I did find a beautiful Black-Throated Green Warbler, but then I had an idea. I should head to the steps on the northeast corner of the Meet because it appeared to be the best vantage point that wasn't facing the sun and there appeared to be a few birders there. When I got there, they told me it was close to the reedy shore within the duck flock and left. It was hard to sort through the sleeping shovelers and similar-looking female Gadwalls, but I was able to pick out the American Wigeon among the flock (#160) after several minutes. This was a repeat of last year, with another bird, a male, present around the same time. Also a repeat, 2 Green-Winged Teal had been reported there instead of just 1, but I decided to skip it as it was getting late (at least one of the teal was on the west side of the Meer). From here on out, other than Pine Siskin and some raptors, I have to rely on fall rarities to increase my year list.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Marsh Wren 2016

On Tuesday, September 27, I went to try to search for a Marsh Wren spotted near in the Lower Lobe in Central Park (the southwestern corner of the Lake). When I got there, among the House Sparrows, I spotted a small, green warbler foraging in the shrubs right next to the path. What would a warbler be doing there? It was easy to identify it as a Tennessee Warbler! Not new for the year or even the fall, but still a very unique opportunity to observe it up close. After a few minutes of watching it, I searched for the Marsh Wren, but came up empty and gave up. It was seen about 45 minutes after I left. The next day, I tried for it again. First, I and other birders refound the Tennessee Warbler, and discovered that there was a second one with it. We then started to search for the wren, but it was extremely difficult. Not only was there plenty of places for it to hide, but there were also Common Yellowthroats, Song, and Swamp Sparrows, as well as the Tennessee Warblers to confuse it with. After over an hour, we spotted the wren distantly flying across the Lake. I searched on the other side but could not refind it. After about 10 more minutes, we refound the MARSH WREN (#159) and were greatly rewarded for our efforts. The wren came within 2 feet of us at times! It gave great views and was agitated by a pair of raccoons nearby, but somehow successfully scared them off. After about 15 minutes the wren flew deeper into the cattails. With the light fading and many good looks at the wren, I decided to call it a night.